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February 02, 1990 - Image 144

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-02-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Tu Bishevat A Variety Of Interpretations

Continued from Page L-1

and effecting tikkun olam. By eating
certain fruits at the seder and
drinking four cups of wine, we
would aid in the refructification of
our world from the Divine Tree of
Life.
The Kabbalists believe that on
Tu Bishevat we return to our
encounter with the tree in the
Garden of Eden. We enter into a
harmonious relationship with nature.
Since we were driven from the
Garden of Eden from a comfortable
symbiotic relationship with God to
one of struggle in the world, we
attempt to reconnect to trees and
the Tree of Life on Tu Bishevat. The
Kabbalists believe reconnecting to
the Tree of Life demonstrates our
readiness to handle responsibility
and bring tikkun olam (spiritual
repairing to the world). We are
mature enough during this time of
seasonal and spiritual renewal on Tu
Bishevat to recreate the garden
planted in Eden.
The Tu Bishevat Seder of Rabbi
Chaim Vital sets out an elaborate
ritual for the eating of fruits which
represent worlds of creation. There

new dimension to this holiday
through their interpretations. They
have referred to Tu Bishevat as a
Rosh Hashanah Lellan (a New Year
for a Tree) instead of Rosh
Hashanah Lellanot as mentioned in
the Talmud. What tree are they
referring to?
The Kabbalists saw the
relationship between Tu Bishevat
and Rosh Hashanah on an even
deeper level. Trees were a symbol
of hUmans as it says in
Deuteronomy 20:19, "For a human
is like the tree of the field." Trees
were symbolic of the tree which was
the Tree of Life which carries divine
goodness and blessing into the
world. The Kabalists of Safed in the
Sixteenth Century created a Tu
Bishevat seder in order to effect the
cosmic process. Rabbi Chaim Vital
who authored Pen Ez Hadar
modelled the Tu Bishevat seder
somewhat on the Passover seder.
The Kabbalists saw eating a variety
of fruits and drinking white and red
wine as a way of improving our
spiritual selves, thus encouraging
the flow of goodness from the tree

Scrambler Puzzle Answer

are different fruits and nuts which
fall into each of the four categories
— Assiyah (physical creation),
Yezirah (formation), Beriah (creation)
and Azilut (emanation). There are
four cups of wine beginning with
white wine which represents nature
as dormant and ending with red
wine which represents nature in
bloom.
Several English versions of the
seder are available: Tu Bishevat: A

The Kabbalists believe
reconnecting to the Tree
of Life demonstrates our
readiness to handle
responsibility and bring
tikkun olam (spiritual
repairing to the world).

Mystical Seder For The New Year of
Trees edited by Yeshiva Bergman
and Tu Bishevat Seder by Harlene
Appelman and Jane Sherwin
Shapiro.
Another interpretation of drash
of Tu Bishevat comes to us from the
Honi HaMeaggel (Honi the circle



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maker) story which is found in
Ta'anit 23a. An English version of
this tale can be found in Phyllis
Gershaton's adaptation entitled Honi
And His Magic Circle.
Honi, a celebrated figure in
Jewish folklore was a miracle
worker during the Second Temple
period. One day while Honi was
walking along the road he saw a
man planting a carob tree. Honi
asked, "How long before it will bear
fruit?" The man answered,
"Seventy years." Honi asked, "Are
you sure that you will be alive in
seventy years to eat from the fruit?"
The man answered, "I found this
world filled with carob trees. Just as
my ancestor planted for me, so shall
I plant for my children."
This story reflects the image of
trees as a symbol of eternity, for
they live beyond the lifetime of a
single human generation. It also
demonstrates to us how for human
beings children are our trees or a
means of achieving eternity. Thus,
Tu Bishevat, Rosh Hoshanah
Lellanot (Rosh Hashanah for Trees)
is a way to give trees to our
children and others and create an
eternal link for our people in the
land of Israel.

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• Jewish Newcomers from the
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presented by
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For additional information call Jewish Experiences For Families at 661-0600.

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